Reducing BOM count

I am not a Navio owner, but it looks interesting to me. I just was wondering about the use of multiple ICs on board. Specifically, the PCA9685 (PWM), the MB85R (EEPROM) and the ADS1115 (ADC) can all be replaced by cheap microcontrollers. For example, the PIC18F4431 has 8 14-bit PWM channels, 2 10-bit PWM channels, 256 Byte EEPROM, 9 10-bit ADC channels, SPI (or I2C), and many other features. I am not specifically talking about this one, any other suitable microcontroller will work, my point is that maybe there is a way to reduce BOM and make Navio simpler and, possibly, cheaper.


We have decided to use dedicated ICs for each task to make programming easier for those who develop their own code for Navio. Each of these chips is well tested, reliable and has been used by many. Microcontroller would require a separately maintained firmware and might cause difficulties for new users. Each approach has it’s own advantages and drawbacks but we have chosen to get rid of microcontroller onboard at all.

Also, BOM is not the only factor affecting the price, others include production, testing, logistics, etc.